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Personalities

Personalities

Celebrity Interviews

Friday, August 04, 2017

Wright on Target

An interview with singer Lizz Wright

Dividing her time between the mountains of North Carolina and a classroom in Chicago, wherever Georgia-native and singer/songwriter Lizz Wright is, there’s music. Here’s the truth about Wright, she never disappoints. Whether she’s introducing listeners to her own spirited and powerful original compositions or performing singular interpretations of the work of others, each of her six studio albums, including her latest, Grace (Concord), will lift you up and knock you out. I spoke with Wright in the summer of 2017.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Cyndi Lauper’s Detour

An interview with the diva great

Known for putting her money where her mouth is, versatile Grammy and Tony Award-winning diva Cyndi Lauper is an outspoken supporter of the LGBT community. But it was her singing voice and distinctive fashion sense that initially caught our eye. After forays into pop, dance music, standards, and the blues, Lauper lends her remarkable vocal range to a set of country numbers on Detour (Sire). Joined by country legends Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris, Lauper leaves her “unusual” mark on mid-20th century country classics, including Wanda Jackson’s “Funnel of Love,” Patsy Cline’s “Walking after Midnight,” and “I Fall to Pieces.” She knows when to use country’s trademark catch-in-the-throat on heartbreakers “Misty Blue” and “Begging to You.” Duets with a yodeling Jewel (“I Want to be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart”) and Alison Krauss (“Hard Candy Christmas”) are also standouts. I spoke with Lauper, who is embarking on a concert tour with Rod Stewart in June 2017.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Gatekeeper

An interview with ‘Madam Secretary’s Erich Bergen

As Blake Moran, the newly out bisexual assistant to Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (Téa Leoni) in the CBS drama “Madam Secretary,” Erich Bergen is the picture of perfection. Handsome, fit, conservatively-attired and well-groomed with very important hair, Blake has it (almost) all together. Sure, there are loose ends – a difficult mother and a recently resurfaced male ex – but he is nothing if not good at tying everything up so they don’t come undone again. I had the pleasure of speaking with Bergen, whom many will recognize from his portrayal of Bob Gaudio in both the film and touring stage productions of Jersey Boys, about Blake and much more.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

And Then There Was Nun

Filmmaker Ryan White keeps viewers riveted with The Keepers

Almost 50 years after Sister Cathy Sesnik, who taught at Archbishop Keough, an all-girls high school, was murdered in Baltimore, there are still many unanswered questions about the case. Not only has that not stopped former students of hers from seeking the truth, it also caught the attention of gay filmmaker Ryan White (The Case Against 8), director of Netflix doc series The Keepers. White, whose maternal side of the family has roots in Baltimore (a family member was also one of Sister Cathy’s students) initially thought he would be making a feature-length doc about the murder. Before he knew it, the project took on a life of its own. I spoke with White about The Keepers in May 2017.

Friday, May 12, 2017

True Blue

An interview with singer/songwriter and Broadway actress Morgan James

If you haven’t heard Morgan James sing, then you don’t know what you’re missing. A white girl from Idaho with the voice of a black gospel choir soloist, James has careers on Broadway (Motown: The Musical, The Addams Family, and more) and as a singer/songwriter (her debut studio album came out in 2014). More recently, she released an EP and completed a new studio disc of original songs. She can also be seen performing Joni Mitchell’s Blue in its entirety on her YouTube channel (Youtube.com/user/morganjamesonline). In fact, if they’re still looking to cast the movie version of Sheila Weller’s Girls Like Us, about Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Carly Simon, James would make a far better Joni than Taylor Swift. I spoke with Morgan in advance of her 2017 concert tour.

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